In a Class of Its Own: A Statutory Solution for the Gendered Sentencing Disparity in Teacher-Student Sexual Assault
In recent years, the #MeToo movement has started a powerful cultural dialogue about the pervasiveness and severity of sexual assault in our society. Despite those inroads, certain victims remain invisible. This Note explores the commission of sexual assault in one such context: female teachers who have sex with male students. It specifically examines the existence of a gendered sentencing disparity and proposes a three-part statutory solution that will reduce the incidence of the crime.
The first part of the law would entail a prison sentence for perpetrators of the crime. The second part of the law would require psychological counseling for purposes of rehabilitation. The third part of the law would consist of a public apology issued by the teacher, serving as a clear denouncement of this misconduct. Each aspect of the law is analyzed in detail through a synthesis of various fields of literature.
In making such a proposal, the Note discusses the prevalence of female-perpetrated sexual assault in educational settings as well as the adverse (but often overlooked) developmental effects on male victims. It also challenges existing norms that sensationalize and minimize these crimes. Ultimately, the Note asks us to reconsider our conceptions of gender and criminality, challenging our existing legal framework to adapt and evolve in response to an existing problem.